Everyday Face – June 2017 edition

Everyday Face – June 2017 edition

I had a post idea bubble up this morning as I was doing my makeup so I thought, let’s run with this inspiration and fire up the good ol’ blog! So here I am with a mid-year update; let’s get down to business, ne? Prepare thineself for the copious selfies–thou hast been warned.

The Glow-Up
I started writing/posting in 2013, and I wore nothing / pressed powder only:

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December 2013. I miss this crazy long hair. I was living out my Zooey Deschanel/MPDG dreams with the bangs and specs.

In 2014 I lost twenty pounds, grew more hair (that remained tangled, lol), and made a little routine called the “Five Minute Face” that began with my brows. It felt pretty good, and I enjoyed doing my eyebrows so I kept it up.

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No mascara, just brows and bb cream and powder.

2015 events brought the introduction of eyeliner and lipcolor, to varying success:

2016– muscle memory and control is a little better. Started looking for a nude lip color and bought a few new brushes to add to the makeup bag.

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Brow game solid by 2016.

2017’s Everyday Face no longer takes a mere five minutes, because I’ve since expanded my skill set. Here’s what I use on a regular basis (some steps optional):

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From left to right:

    1. Lorac Pro to Go Eye/Cheek Palette
    2. NARS Radiance Enhancing Light Optimizing Primer
    3. Rimmel Matte BB Cream 9-in-1 Skin Perfecting Super Makeup in Medium
    4. Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara in 001 Black
    5. Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Pencil in 005 Nude
    6. L’Oreal Infallible The Super Slim Liquid Eyeliner in Black
    7. Rimmel Brow this Way Brow Gel in Clear
    8. L’Oreal True Match Pressed Powder in N3 – Natural Buff
    9. Nyx Blush in PB01 Mocha
    10. Urban Decay De-Slick Oil Control Setting Spray

In general:

    • Moisturizer with SPF (not photographed), NARS primer on eyes, BB cream, pressed powder.
    • Brow routine which is filling in sparse areas with a Bobbi Brown eyeshadow close to my hair color; Rimmel brow gel to set.
    • Eyes. I create my own version of a “cut crease” or what I think looks like a cut crease, but is really just a smudge of something, with the Lorac palette. Or if I’m in a rush and only can do one color, I use single MAC pots in a non-descript brown just to have some color on the eyelids. Optional: I’ll tightline the lower waterline with nude pencil for work, smudge the gold/bronze color if I’m in the mood. Same with mascara or eyeliner. If I’m wearing all of the above, I consider that my “fleekest” for the day. Not really. It still looks pretty restrained.
    • Blush because why not. Concealer if I really need it, but I tend to forget/eliminate this step.
    • Setting spray when done.

I like what I’ve been doing so far:

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Not photographed, on lips: NARS Matte Lip Pencil in Bansar

Hair’s all poofy.

This definitely takes a little longer than five minutes–I’d say about twenty, because I’m a lot more picky about my eyebrows and the eyeshadows when I do this. I’ve had days where I overfilled the brows and looked pretty silly or was sloppy on blending the shadow. But overall I really like where I am right now with the routine and while I am not quite yet a glazed donut perhaps 2018 might be my year! Maybe contouring will be passe by the time I get to it?

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Cropped

Cropped

A trim became a lop. I haven’t had a cut this short in the past four years I’ve been trying to grow this hair. A vague stirring turned into indecision and then finally this at the salon yesterday. I’m ecstatic about the shortened drying time and the swingy-ness of less mass. In time I will return to being a dark-haired mermaid, but for now, this.

*full disclosure: this was a happy medium between completely lopping it off into a chin-length bob but it is still short enough to where it differed from my waist-grazing length. The ends were super dead and broken on my previous hair, and at that length it was whipping around my shoulders and back while running and getting stuck on my arms.

I also wish I were strong enough to say I won’t panic and regret this in a few weeks, but in the spirit of growth and maturity: it is hair, it will grow again, and I am fortunate to have a dense mane on my head.

Do you have any style tips or inspiration for looks for this length? I hardly do anything to my mop, maybe it’s time to try something new.

Perfume notes – March 2015

Perfume notes – March 2015

I’m not much of a beauty junkie, but I like to wear perfume. Yesterday I went to the mall to try on some things and dropped by the local Sephora to look at their fragrance section. These are just a few of the things that I tried on:

Disclaimer–I’m no connoisseur; I just know what works on my skin. My observations will be quite simple and unrefined:

Commodity Goods‘ Black and White Collection:

Wear them solo or layered. Under the bottles there are “mix” suggestions from the brand; it was quite interesting. For this visit, I only tried them solo to get a first impression.

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Three of the five scents in the Black collection. Not photographed: Wool and Moss.

I was drawn to Whiskey and Book. Book smells great from the bottle but I don’t think my body takes to woodsy notes that well. I do know some friends for whom it might be more appropriate. Thumbs up on the packaging and name choices; it’s quite attractive to think “my perfume is Whiskey and Books.”

Unfortunately I think my style is more “Donuts and New Computer Smell.” I digress.

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White collection. Not photographed: Paper, and Rain

Gold wears like Atelier Cologne‘s Vanille Insensee on me. No wonder I thought it was familiar. Mimosa is also a pleasant scent; it’s got blood orange and grapefruit as top notes and ylang-ylang in the base.

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What I tried on at Sephora this month.

Of yesterday’s visit, I liked these three the most (and a fourth one not photographed, which is Atelier Cologne’s Pomelo Paradis.)

On Atelier Cologne: of the three citrus-themed scents I’ve tried from them so far, I’ll say Mandarine Glaciale > Pomelo Paradis > Orange Sanguine. Personal preference. They seem to last longer than Diptyque does on me. I’ll call it an insistent fragrance: you will smell yourself for a while. So likely others will too (is that what sillage is?) Love that they smell like freshly cut fruit, but it may be a bit overwhelming for some people.

Juliette Has a Gun is a brand by Romano Ricci, whose ancestry includes Nina Ricci and his grandfather Robert Ricci, creator of L’Air du Temps. I tried Not a Perfume and Anyway. These are pretty understated perfumes, Anyway goes on clean and finishes like a hint of soap or powder after 45 minutes. In contrast to Atelier Cologne, those two scents from Juliette Has a Gun are subtle and quiet. There are other “heavier” scents but I’m looking for a daytime spring/summer vibe, so I didn’t check those out.

Finally, Commodity Goods’ Gold: I like this better than Vanille Insensee; I’ll keep it in mind, but it’s not what I’m currently looking for. I may go back to try Mimosa or Tea.

That’s where I am fragrance-wise this season: looking for a new spring/summer, airy day scent. Do you wear fragrances? Do you change your scents with the season/for the occasion? Or do you prefer to wear one brand or one type of fragrance only?

La femme en rouge

Let me preface this by saying this is not-standard Kristina daily wear. I’m trying to grow into my feminine side and I think I’m getting there slowly. This weekend I attended a friend’s wedding, hence the pomp and fuss over on Instagram. Despite all my preparation, I can’t help but feel a little nervous when I step out in something precious like this:

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Dress: old Donna Morgan linen pleated dress, Macy’s. (similar from Nordstrom)
Clutch: borrowed from my grandmother (similar)
Shoes: Sofft Gredda in pewter metallic (no longer available)

I have a penchant for muted metallic accessories. I feel like gold/silver looks good on my skin–nude pumps would also be good, but I’ve yet to find a comfortable and tone-correct pair. These heels have been with me for the last 4 years and will continue to do so–I only wear them for special occasions and I’m thankfully not at the point yet where I’d start a heel collection. I would be more of a sneakerhead first. I love brands like Sofft, Ecco, Born because they put comfort first while giving a nod to style. Not too bad for a “grandma” brand, right?

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Makeup:

Eyes: Urban Decay Naked palette–Naked on the lids, Buck on the crease; L’Oreal Telescopic Waterproof Eyeliner, Wet N’ Wild eyebrow pencil in dark brown
Lips: Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in curviest caramel
Face: Rimmel Matte BB cream in medium, L’Oreal True Match powder in N3

This is basically my “Five Minute Face” upgraded with eyeliner and eyeshadow. And derp-proof lip color in the form of a giant crayon. Why I don’t do this more often, I don’t know, because it really doesn’t take that much longer to schlep on, and I feel very Hepburn-esque (Audrey) with the gamine eyeliner. I think it’s because my eyes get irritated pretty quickly–I avoid mascara because it feels heavy and tends to itch.

Despite my worrying, I actually did OK and was comfortable in my get-up. At some point I did switch out to flats while driving and helping to haul stuff in for the reception, but otherwise, I was fine. Didn’t even drop sauce on me while eating all the yum Chinese banquet foods! Win. Eventually I hope this process gets easier and more natural–I want to be better, not just sartorially, but in all other aspects of my life. One dress at a time, I suppose.

How do you prepare for a formal occasion? Which aspect of your look do you concentrate on the most–dress, shoes, beauty routine? I’m still figuring out a fool-proof scheme so my closet (and supplies) are ready to go at any time.

Diptyque Friends and Family 8/9/14

This past weekend my cousin and I attended the Diptyque Friends and Family Event in South Coast Plaza on August 9, 2014. I’m admittedly late to the game as Diptyque perfumes have been around for ages, but I’m glad I found scents that I like from this company. When I received the email that the Costa Mesa store was hosting an event I was excited to attend and watch the proceedings.

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Guests were invited to sample scents and ask questions about the products. We also heard about the upcoming new releases and dates for pre-orders.
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Milling about. 🙂
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Food spread! For some reason, cheese and melon slices are really tasty one after the other (is that odd?)

Delicious refreshments. I’m not very well-versed in wine at all, but I liked what I sipped. As we stood about and chatted I took the opportunity to look about the store more closely:

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Colored candles and the hourglass diffusers on display.

I am not entirely sure what this blossom is but they were in vases all over the store. It didn’t seem to have a scent, but then again the entire store is oozing fragrance so it might have been overpowered by the items around it.

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Not sure what these plants are called, but they felt like stiff cardboard blossoms. They are real though–these were in a vase with water.

We arrived near the start of the event, but apparently there was a good gathering of people there, according to the staff I spoke with. Here I am with Raven, whose customer service and product knowledge I admire. When I came in last year to sample the scents she was patient at explaining their product range to me and with her help I was able to identify a few fragrances to try. I’m really grateful that she is very approachable and knowledgeable, as I am a neophyte in the fragrance realm. It really helps when you’re able to take samples home and see what wears well and what doesn’t work. I definitely would not have bought anything without significant testing–I think I waited a month and a half after my first visit to make a decision on what I really liked.

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Thank you Raven for your knowledge and hard work!

I’ve come up with a layering combination that I feel fits the person that I am now. To me, fragrance is as personal as it gets–ideally only the people in my direct space experience it, so I hope that whatever I put on not only goes with my body chemistry but also fits with my personality and image. I find that I seem to prefer fruit-based, citrusy scents with complementary woodsy/spicy notes for personal fragrance, and  vanillas mixed with berry scent for soaps/candles. I also like yuzu, grapefruit, and ylang-ylang components, but not all fragrances with these ingredients work well on me.

I cannot also ignore how scents can evoke memories/associations. My old perfumes remind me of a certain time in my life. Davidoff Cool Water Woman is middle school and high school–a very unisex, almost borderline masculine smell on me. I probably spied it in a Seventeen magazine and it was the least cloying/sticky-smelling scent, so tomboy teen me gravitated to that. The college years were spent wearing Clean Fresh Laundry–a light soapy smell that some people dislike, because it reminds them of detergent, but reminded me of the early morning and was calming to breathe in. Now I notice I’m gravitating to spice/fruit/vanilla: the fruit reminds me of the clean, fresh youthful scents I preferred, but the other two are new arenas to explore.

I almost got carried away philosophizing re: fragrances and self-perception when I’d rather hear how others determine their signature scent. I’ll probably continue to wear Clean Fresh Laundry until my stash runs out, but then I’d like to have a different everyday fragrance and then maybe something more experimental/expressive. Do you have a default, daily fragrance or several rotating choices? What are your favorite scent profiles or ingredients?

Five Minute Face

Just got back from vacation in San Francisco (yay!) Today I’d like to talk about something a little different, but in keeping with my goal of being Uniformly Dressed every day–I’d like to talk about dressing up our faces.

Confession: I’m terrible at makeup. I’m in my twenties and I still haven’t bought a proper bottle of foundation (nor do I really know how to use it.) Until last year, I really didn’t care what I did to my face. At best I washed it for work and put on some SPF protection before leaving. Maybe a layer of pressed powder on top, but that was if I had time before work. I also would routinely go outdoors and into the water sometimes with sunscreen, sometimes without, and I’ve always had small pimples/breakouts crop up on me even beyond my teen years. Never grew out of it. So I’m not really entirely qualified nor am I terribly comfortable about talking about what to do re: makeup/skincare.

What’s new this year? I’m trying to take better care of myself, and I’m growing up. I’m recognizing that wanting to feel beautiful is not hubris and learning how to put one’s self together ultimately helps me think better of myself, which is a worthy endeavor. I also believe people make snap judgments and I want to be perceived positively–hopefully as someone of health and good capabilities. No one will believe it if I look tired, rumply, or slovenly.

With that being said, I’ve been going around asking the women among my family and friends about their makeup/skincare routine. I am most interested in their ideas for their every day face, or what I call “Five Minute Face.” What is a Five Minute Face? To me, it is the bare minimum of what one would consider public-ready or put-together. If you only had five minutes to get your face ready for work, what would you put on, and why? I am interested to know what people consider a must. Here are the tools and potions I use for my Five Minute Face:

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Face: Cerave Facial Moisturizing Lotion, Rimmel BB Cream Matte, L’Oreal True Match Super-blendable Powder
Eyebrows: Wet n Wild Coloricon Brow & Eye Liner, Dark Brown 652, Sonia Kashuk Eyebrow Comb/Brush
Lips: Maybelline Baby Lips in Cherry Me

I like simplicity so I’ve hardly deviated from light coverage options (which I think are simple enough–they don’t require a sponge to apply or precise skin tone matching.) I’ve used the same tinted moisturizer since high school–CoverGirl’s CG Smoothers. Last year a few friends told me about BB cream, so I’ve been trying that. I like the Rimmel BB Cream in matte so far–it doesn’t have too strong a scent, doesn’t feel greasy or heavy going on my skin, and gives some light concealing coverage to blemishes and pimple scars (at least the fading ones.) I’ve only had it a week and so far no bad reaction to it, and it’s affordable at only $4.99 a tube (at least at Target.)

Since the BB cream already has SPF 15 in the formula, I’ve been using the PM Cerave Facial Moisturizing lotion underneath the BB cream for hydration. And here is where my lack of face science shows. My T-zone (especially my chin and cheeks) have been dry lately, to the point of peeling. I don’t know what’s different this month, or why it’s peeling, but I’m guessing that because I run regularly and am outdoors more, I could be getting sunburnt. I also have some topical medicine for the one or two stubborn pimples, and I know that gel has light-sensitive and skin-drying chemicals. I generally don’t have peeling, so let’s hope moisturizing will help alleviate that.

Once the lotion is on and dry, I just cover my face with the L’Oreal True Match Powder. I flip between the N3-N4 shades, depending on how tan I am. The brow fill-in is new–I learned that when I attended my friend’s wedding. I keep my brows full-grown and thread/pluck the strays, but there are some patches that are thinner. Those get filled in with the pencil and brushed out. I like doing my brows–who would have thought? They’re fun to define, and I feel like my smirks are jauntier with a fuller brow. I kid. A quick swipe of some kind of lip balm (I show the Maybelline Baby Lips here, but I am mighty fond of Cherry Chapstick as well) and I’m out the door. Sometimes I’ll just pocket the balm and put it on in the car, which happens more often than not.

All that production looks like this:

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It takes longer to write about it than just to do it.

I can live with this amount of work for every day, but I’m open to learning new things/hearing suggestions. What is your daily face like–what are your must-dos? What are your favorite products to use, and do you have any tips for those of us still learning the ropes?